Don't Look Down
Making the Decision to Wear Hejab
By Shaden Mohamed
My decision to wear the hijab was sudden, yet expected. I had been thinking about it for a few months, but never actually worked up the courage to take the leap of faith (so to speak). I always made excuses - my career, my friends, my wardrobe! All of which were validated by my peers, who reassured me and others that the hejab was a personal choice made only when we as women were ready for it.
Well what the heck does that mean?! When would I be ready? When I lost my career, friends and fashion sense?! No sir-ee-bob, this issue needed more thought than I was giving it, and even that was a hard thing to do with everything that was taking place in my life.
And so in time all thought of wearing the hejab dissolved and I went about preparing for my holiday to Thailand over the Xmas break.
I know what most people are thinking - and no, I did not have a near-death experience which made me want to wear the hejab and give up cargo shorts forever.
Actually I was in Bangkok at the time of the wave, which I had escaped when I left Phuket 2 days earlier. Apart from a tremor in my hotel, and running down 31 levels to safety, I was safe and sound in Sydney just in time to celebrate new year's eve with some friends and to recuperate before starting work again in a few days time.
And so my time away from home was perhaps what made my decision more premeditated than I had thought.
Away from all pressures and influences, with only time to dwell on my own thoughts, I thought about what I wanted in life. And I succeeded in coming home with 5% more knowledge about myself.
Part of that was releasing the anxiety that was caused by my environment. I thought "Stuff it, I'm doing what I want and dealing with the circumstances as they arise" (by the way, I am yet to face any "circumstances" - the only thing I was truly worried about was my own self-image.
No one will ever say: "Oh my God what have you done! You will be an outcast forever!" the only person who ever came close to saying that aloud was me).
After all, with more and more women becoming more dedicated to Islam, if I had waited any longer I would have been the outcast. So to all you women out there, "thinking" about your hijab options - don't look down, just jump and Allah will catch you.
Shaden Mohamed is in her 20's. Of Egyptian background, she was born and bred in Sydney, Australia, where she attained a degree in Media & Communications.